I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Pleasant Hill, CA. I love helping women, teens, and couples figure out where they are, how they got there, and how to design and work toward a different and better path. I help my clients go from overwhelmed, unhappy, exhausted, and alone to fulfilled, grounded, and connected.
My clients initially talk to me about their physical symptoms like lack of focus, panicky feelings, feelings of sadness and confusion. We work to manage the physical symptoms using brain and body based skills and tools while we connect the dots to exactly what things throughout their lives got them to this place and what made those symptoms necessary at one time for survival.
Now we're in a position to look at questioning and changing patterns, thoughts, and boundaries that are no longer working, finally creating and practicing new ways of responding rather than reacting to their worlds.
We get really clear on exactly what they want in life and determine how to get to that new story in practical, no bull-shit ways.
My clients finish therapy with me feeling more in control, grounded, and clear with incredible communication skills that they can now use to set loving but firm boundaries for themselves and others that feel good for them without making them feel guilty or abandoning.
My style is nuturing while also incredibly practical. It's so important to me that my clients know that I am right there with them until they no longer need me to be. At the same time, because therapy is an investment of time, money, and energy, I want to help with no-nonsense solutions that really help.
Your history doesn't have to equal your story. Let's find a new story.
I LOVE helping women, teens, and couples toward those life-changing "Aha" moments that I witness in my clients every day. I actually get tingles as I watched onced overwhelmed, stressed, disconnected clients find the strengths they have, find brand new no-nonsense skills and resources and re-emerge into the world knowing THEY'VE GOT THIS!! I love watching as their sense of worth and confidence soars and their relationships feel connected, loving, and amazing! I love watching as clients begin to realize that they don't have to lose for others to win, that they can set incredibly loving but clear boundaries, and that their history doesn't have to be their story!! These are the things I live for, and I feel so lucky to get to experience them every day with my clients!!
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First, it's important to make sure that I'm a good fit for you. This is the number one factor that will either lead to great therapy results or will tank the experience. It's so important that I offer a free, no-strings attached 30-minute consultation to talk about what's going on and see if I'm the best person to help. If I'm not for any reason, I'm committed to helping you find someone who is.
If we are a good match, we will find a weekly time to meet. Our first few sessions are spend in helping me to really understand what's happening so that we can get really clear on how to fix what's not working. Even in the assessment phase though, we are work on some tools and connecting some dots. Once we have a really clear idea with regard to the challenges and where they stem from, together we determine what your goals are and figure out a plan to repair, process, find tools and strengths you have, and develop new resources and tools you still need. We also start figuring out what you really need and want and start building a path in that direction.
We meet weekly until we reach your goals, and once we are there you can choose to wean to a bi-weekly or monthly schedule just to make sure your skills stay intact, or you can stop, knowing that I'm still there if you need a brush up in the future.
I hold a Masters in Psychology from JFK University and a BA in Psychology from U.C. Berkeley. I am currently working toward my doctorate.
I have certifications in EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialetical Behavioral Therapy, Attachment-Based Therapy, and Interpersonal Neurobiology.
I am a Certified Trauma Specialist and a Certified Anxiety Specialist.
My fee is $150 per 50-minute session.
My fee with couples is $215 per 80-minute session.
Coming from a history of trauma myself and struggling with the consequences that resulted in high levels of anxiety and low self-worth, my own work led me to develop an understanding of how our pasts can inadvertently lead us to poor boundaries and troubled relational issues as we try to be there for everyone in every way. Part of who I was was inextricably tied to ensuring that everyone else in my life was taken care of while I had never even considered my own needs. I felt overwhelmed with holding up everyone else's balls and was sure that I needed to do this alone. It was exhausting and not sustainable. I now have a life filled with joy and amazing relationships that I feed and that feed me. I understand my past, but also know that it doesn't define my present or future. I understand that I have the power to define those myself.
My vision is to help others to find their way to lives that feel empowering rather than exhausting. I have made it my life's work to help others to repair past injuries, gain emotional balance, and design and live the lives they want. In this way, I hope to begin to heal our world and prevent damage to future generations one client at a time.
I work with women, teens, and couples that are trying so hard to keep all of their balls up in the air and are so frustrated with relationships that aren't feeling strengthening that they are ready to take the next step toward new skills, new ways of seeing themselves and their relationships, and new possibilities for a better present and future.
May (not her real name) is a client that came to me feeling emotionally overwhelmed pretty much every single day. She was constantly trying to be there for everyone in her life so that no one ever felt as scared, alone, unhappy, and overwhelmed as she felt, herself. The pattern was so entrenched that it had become how she saw her place in the world, how she saw her purpose. She felt off-balance , empty and alone despite all of the people in her life. She also felt incredibly judged by others which limited her ability to be her authentic self and often limited her ability to find new opportunities in the world.
Through our work May learned to manage and listen to her emotions rather than feel overwhelmed by them. She essentially re-wired her brain so that she now felt calmer, more grounded, and more in control of her life. She learned new ways to communicate with others that allowed her to express her boundaries and her needs in loving ways that got her needs met while improving the relationships in her life.
In a recent session, May was recounting a family interaction that once would have had her emotionally overwhelmed. Instead, she was smiling and even laughing as she recounted her solution to the interaction and the amazing results of her new way of handling an old challenge. As I sat listening to the strength and centeredness emanating from this awesome woman, I realized that our work was done. While I will miss her so much, I truly celebrated the moment that she walked out of my office knowing that she's got this!
The 3 most important things in real estate are location, location, location. The 3 most important things in finding a therapist are relationship, relationship, relationship. Find someone that you trust and that you click with. Every study out there (and common sense) tells us that the rapport between therapist and client accounts for about 80% of the success of therapy.
After rapport, it's important to find a professional who knows her stuff and is in a constant state of improving their knowledge, otherwise you might as well phone a friend. Therapy is as much science as art, and the years spent in graduate school doesn't keep one up to date on the most practical, no-no sense, and proven ways to help clients get to goals. You wouldn't want a doctor that was stuck in 1990's medicine. You wouldn't hire a lawyer who wasn't up to date on current law. Find someone who is constantly and consistently out there ensuring her skills are current and up to date.
When you walk out of your therapists office for the last time (whether that's after one visit or 100 visits) what will be different in your life that will tell you that therapy was worth the time, emotion, and money that you put in? These are your goals for therapy. Make sure that you find a professional that has experience getting others to similar goals.
How do you feel best supported? Do you prefer a nurturer or a more clinical professional? Would you prefer a blank slate that just listens, or someone more active in session that helps you to connect dots? Do you prefer talk therapy alone or would you prefer more directive, skill-based therapy? Are you truly ready to get to work and make changes, or are you hoping that the therapist will do all the heavy lifting without too much effort on your part?